Peter Jackson responds to rumors of animal cruelty on the set of The Hobbit

Accusations are flying that 27 animals died of mistreatment on the set of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, causing PETA to get up in arms and protest the movie. PETA will protest just about anything, but is there some truth to this story? Jackson and his fellow producers have responded (through an official representative), saying that the 150 animals at the New Zealand location were treated well, and that the vast percentage of deaths that did occur were due to natural causes. But were there any deaths that could have been prevented? Or is this a case of disgruntled former wranglers? Jackson's rep says the animals were overseen by the American Humane Association after two "avoidable" incidents (including a horse found dead after falling over a bluff), and hundreds of thousands of dollars went into improving the animals' living conditions. Here is the full statement, via The Hollywood Reporter:

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Peter Jackson puts the idea of directing an episode of Doctor Who into everyone's head, everyone dies

Okay, now, before we all (present company included) get too excited, let me state that this is not an official announcement, but merely words said by people out loud to the press. Matt Smith, who plays the eponymous character in Doctor Who, said that he'd love to sail over to New Zealand and film an episode of the show with director Peter Jackson. And then Jackson said, "Yeah, okay!" You might think that the new trailer for The Hobbit was the best Jackson-related news to happen today, but I'm telling you right now -- it's not. This "not-officially-happening-yet" Doctor Who news is. If we all clap our hands at the same time, maybe it'll actually happen. And an angel will get its wings.

Don't worry, I put your Hobbit trailer inside, too.

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Update: There will be a third Hobbit movie released in 2014

Remember that time I said there might be a third Hobbit movie, but not to get excited? Well, feel free to get excited: Peter Jackson has confirmed that the summer of 2014 will see the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Trilogy. (That title, by the way, is not confirmed.) Says Jackson: "[W]ithout further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three." (via Film Junk)

Attention Tolkien fans: There might be a third Hobbit movie (maybe)

Don't get too excited yet, but Peter Jackson is talking about possibly turning the two Hobbit movies he just completed filming -- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again -- into a trilogy. Why? Because 1. Warner Bros. has the rights to the additional notes from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, which has all this groovy stuff in it that relates to The Hobbit, and 2. Jackson has all this extra footage lying around, just waiting to be seen. He spoke with Collider, warning that all of this is only in the earliest of stages:

Well, it’s very, very premature. We have got incredible source material with the appendices. There’s the novel, but then we also have the rights to use the 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of The Hobbit. We’ve used some of that so far, and just in the last few weeks, as we’ve been wrapping up the shooting and thinking about the shape of the story, Philippa [Boyens], Fran [Walsh] and I have been talking to the studio about other things that we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could possibly persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting. We’d probably need more than a few weeks, actually, next year. The discussions are pretty early, so there isn’t anything to report, but there are other parts of the story that we’d like to tell, that we haven’t had the chance to tell yet. We’re just trying to have those conversations with the studio, at the moment.

I have a question: How hard would it be, really, for Peter Jackson -- a person who is Peter Jackson -- to "persuade" Warner Bros. that he can give the studio yet another epic Tolkien trilogy? Because that other one did fairly well, doncha know... (via Geek Tyrant)